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Identity Theft


What is fraud?

Itís the fastest-growing crime in the U.S., costing its victims over $475 Million a year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Yet, it happens so quietly, most people donít realize theyíve been victimized until months later. Identity theft or fraud occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to make illegal purchases, withdrawals, or open accounts. This can damage your credit rating and reputation.

What are we doing to prevent fraud?

After September 11, legislation was passed to help prevent fraud. Evidence shows that credit card, debit card, and similar fraud are a major source of funding for terrorists. To safeguard our nation against terrorists and to help prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud all financial institutions are required to more carefully verify the identity of our account owners, loan applicants, trust, and individuals who purchase investment products.

This means we may ask you additional questions at the time of your transaction. We may also ask you to provide one or more types of identification (ID), such as driverís license, U.S. taxpayer ID number or other government issued document that verifies your nationality or residence. By answering these questions and providing the required forms of identification, you can help us meet the requirements and better protect you against identity theft.

What happens to the information you provide us?

The new regulations require us to verify the information you provide us using one or more methods. For instance, we may compare your information against public databases of information to verify that it is current and accurate. Any information we obtain is safeguarded according to our Privacy Policy and information sharing practices which were provided to you. That way, you can be confident that your personal information remains secure as we work toward preventing all forms of fraud.

What else can you do to prevent fraud?

  • Keep your credit cards, debit cards, personal identification numbers (PINs), checks, social security number, driverís license number, and other personal information in a safe place.
  • Keep deposit and withdrawal slips and credit and debit card receipts where they will be safe, and always shred them first before theyíre disposed.
  • Before disposing of credit card solicitations, credit card statements, financial updates, shred them first.
  • Donít put your trash out until shortly before it will be picked up.
  • Donít put mail in your curb side mailbox until shortly before it will be picked up.
  • Take your mail out of your curb side mailbox as soon as possible after itís delivered. And, if youíre traveling, have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail or have someone you trust pick it up daily.
  • Limit the information on your checks, and donít carry around any more credit or debit cards than necessary.
  • Donít give any of your personal information to anyone in person, over the telephone, or over the internet, unless you have a very good reason to trust them.
  • Donít give any of your personal information to any web sites that donít use encryption or other secure methods to protect it.
  • Use a firewall if you have high-speed internet connection. This software can be purchased on-line or from most software retailers.
  • Donít use PINs or other passwords that are easy to guess (such as family birth dates or your petís name).
  • Examine your credit card, debit card, and bank statements immediately when you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized transactions, Report any you find immediately to the financial institution.
  • Make a prompt inquiry if bills or statements are not received in a timely manner this could mean they are being diverted by an identity thief.
  • Obtain copies of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (shown under item 2) to make sure theyíre accurate.
  • You may also wish to do the following:
    - Request to not receive any further preapproved offers of credit by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.
    - Ask to be removed from national direct mail lists by writing to the DMA Mail Preference Service at P. O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735- 9008 include your name and address.
    - Ask to not receive telephone solicitations from national marketers by writing to the DMA Telephone Preference Service at P. O. Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014. Include your name, address, and telephone number.

What if you discover youíre a victim of fraud?

  1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission at:
    - 1-877-438-4338, or
    - Consumer Response Center, F.T.C.
      600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
      Washington, DC 20580
  2. Contact the following three major credit reporting agencies to put yourself on Fraud Alert and request a copy of your credit report:

    P. O. Box 740250
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0250
    Or call 1-800-525-6285


    P. O. Box 1017
    Allen, TX 75013
    or Call 1-886-397-3742
    P. O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92634
    or Call 1-800-680-7289


  3. Cancel all accounts that have fraudulent activity or are at risk.
  4. Contact your local law enforcement agency.
  5. Contact the U. S. Postal Service if you know or suspect your mail has been stolen.
  6. Keep detailed records of any theft of your identity and of your activities to resolve the theft, including logs of the following:
    - The date, time, and amount of any unauthorized activity on your accounts:
    - The date, time duration, and cost of any phone calls, and
    - The date and cost of any mailings.

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